As LSU rebuilds, it’s Texas A&M’s time to shine
Think about it.
Last season in Baton Rouge, it was LSU 50, Texas A&M 7.
One year later, LSU is a two-touchdown underdog for Saturday night’s game in College Station.
Well, it is pretty simple. One team’s players departed in droves, while the others returned.
A&M is No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking since 2016. Their returning nucleus is talented and experienced.
The Aggie offensive line has not allowed a sack in the last five games. It features three seniors and a graduate transfer.
The A&M defensive line features two juniors, a senior and a graduate transfer.
Offensively, quarterback Kellen Mond, one of the best in the history of the school, is a senior. He needs only 153 passing yards to reach 9,000.
The only other quarterbacks in the history of the Southeastern Conference to throw for 9,000 and rush for 1,000 are Florida’s Tim Tebow and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott. Mond is set to join them.
Running back Isaiah Spiller, a sophomore, ran for 946 yards last season and averaged 5.4 yards a carry. This season, Spiller is averaging 6.2 yards per rush.
LSU, of course, is a whole different story.
In last year’s game against the Aggies, Joe Burrow threw 352 yards and three touchdowns. His backup Myles Brennan, likely out for the rest of this season, threw a TD pass in mop up duty.
Against the Aggies in 2019, wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson had a combined 13 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 136 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
In the rout, LSU had six sacks, five from players no longer on the team. The Tigers also had five quarterback hurries, four from players no longer on the team.
So, in short, this is A&M’s year to contend, if there ever was one, and this is LSU’s year to totally rebuild.
This isn’t an excuse for an LSU football program that got embarrassed at home by Mississippi State, literally gave away a game at Missouri and was crushed on the road by Auburn.
All of those things happened, and they aren’t good for a program of LSU’s caliber.
But what also happened is perhaps the expectation for this LSU football team, based on what left and what was returning, was astronomically incorrect (is there such a phrase?).
Throw in a new defensive coordinator with a new scheme and a new passing game coordinator and you have rapid, uncomfortable change.
There is no love lost between LSU and A&M. Since the Aggies arrived in the SEC, they have defeated LSU once, and it took seven overtimes to do it.
But if they have a chance Saturday night to put one on the Tigers, they are going for it.
Next season, the rebuilding shoe may be on the other foot.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…